3D Printed Medical Supplies Aid in Quake Recovery

By Danielle Pope

3D Printed Medical Supplies Aid in Quake Recovery
How this new technology is helping provide medical supplies to Nepal

It has been nearly two years since Nepal was rocked by an earthquake, which killed almost 9,000 people and injured many others. Despite that passage of time, many buildings remain dilapidated, particularly in remote areas.

In the Bhotechaur village in Nepal’s Sindhupalchowk region, the new health clinic is inundated with patients and struggles to meet demand. Getting medical supplies to the area is fraught with difficulties, including poor roads, complicated bureaucracy and a lack of funding.

Now, a Nepalese engineer believes that he has a simple solution that can help overcome many of these supply problems. Ram Chandra Thapa specialises in 3D printing, and has designed several pieces of medical equipment to aid health centres like the one in the Bhotechaur village.

Mr Thapa works for Field Ready, a US based non-profit organisation that specialises in 3D printing plastic equipment for humanitarian and emergency situations. The organisation was set up in the wake of the country’s devastating 2015 earthquake.

Mr Thapa’s designs include an otoscope (a device used by doctors to examine ears for signs of infection), along with plastic tweezers and wrist guards. All these materials are printed on site at the clinic.

Field Ready’s eventual plan is to install permanent printers in clinics, meaning that doctors and nurses could be trained how to use them and print supplies as needed. “If they had 3D printers in their health clinics, they could just download 3D designs and print it there,” he said. While it does not provide a fix all solution to Nepal’s recovery problem, it does go a fair way in giving doctors a sustainable option.

To learn more about the work Field Ready is doing in Nepal, watch this video below:

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